Review: ‘Black Bottle Man’ by Craig Russell

Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell
Great Plains Teen Fiction (February 2012)

176 pages, $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Black Bottle Man is a young-adult horror story based around the traditional “deal with the devil” plot. Russell, however, makes the plot seem fresh with his historical take. He also twists the traditional roles of the devil’s bargain into a unique novel which is sure to entertain audiences.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Damned Vol. 1: Three Days Dead’ by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree

The Damned Vol. 1: Three Days Dead by Cullenn Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree
Oni Press (March 2017)

152 pages, $9.99 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

The Damned Volume 1: Three Days Dead can only be described as horror noir. It’s set during prohibition, when mobsters and criminal organizations build fortune peddling vice to the citizens of the city. However, those sins are controlled not by human gangsters, but by rival families of demons. The long-standing feud between two of the families is about the come to an end thanks to a brokered deal to consolidate power. But before things can be finalized, the bookkeeper tasked to brokering the deal is kidnapped along with a ledger that could spell doom for all the families.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse’ by Melinda Marshall and Christine Steendam

The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse by Melinda Marshall and Christine Steendam
Hazelridge Press (October 2016)

127 pages, $10.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse is exactly what the title conveys, a humorous attempt to pit pampered fashionistas against brainless, flesh-eating hordes. Taken in that spirit, this book is a complete success. It is at times silly, gory, irreverent, suspenseful and all around fun. Co-authors Melinda Marshall and Christine Steendam have concocted some clever heroines and given us insight into their survival skills. Overall, this is a quick, fun read that’s worth pursuing.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Lilith’s Demons’ by Julie R. Enszer

Lilith’s Demons by Julie R. Enszer
A Midsummer Night’s Press (December 2015)

64 pages, $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

For those who don’t know, The Alphabet of Ben Sirach is a medieval rabbinic text famous, amongst other things, for its reference to Lilith. Lilith is the woman that, according to Hebraic lore, God made before he made Eve; she was Adam’s first wife, but refused to submit to him sexually, so she flew off and became mother of demons. Julie R. Enszer builds on this mythos in her book, Lilith’s Demons.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan’ by Fiada Fey

Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan by Fiada Fey
Furtive Labors (October 2015)

36 pages, $4.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Fiada Fey (1980-2008) was a St. Paul-based novelist, short story writer and cut-up artist. His prose, while lacking in craft, shows a lot of passion for the bizarre horror genre. Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan is his posthumous collection.

Readers will immediately feel Fey’s desire as a writer. His collection of stories speaks to an author passionate about the tales he has to tell, and readers will be able to empathize with that urge. Fey clearly had a vision for his art, and used cut-up techniques to attempt to bring that vision to life. Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan speaks of notebooks filled with stories and story ideas, and as a posthumous collection, leaves the reader wishing that Fey had had the time and skill to carry them out. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home’ by Dane Cobain

dane-cobain-eyes-like-lighthouses-when-the-boats-come-homeEyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home by Dane Cobain
CreateSpace (June 2016)
170 pages, $11.99 paperback; $3.49 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home is a self-published collection of poetry by British performance poet Dane Cobain. It shows a lot of enthusiasm and potential, but ultimately fails due to a number of basic craft issues. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Quick Shivers About Bugs’ edited by James Leach and Janice Leach

quickshiversQuick Shivers About Bugs edited by James Leach and Janice Leach
Cosmonomic Multimedia (March 2016)
80 pages, $15.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Quick Shivers About Bugs is a horror anthology based on articles published at Daily Nightmare. Each piece focuses on bugs in one way or another, though that term is taken as broadly as possible. Most of the pieces are short, one-hundred-word stories or poems, but there are a few longer non-fiction pieces interspersed between the short pieces to give some balance to the anthology. Overall, it’s an entertaining collection.Continue Reading

Review: 'Hot Blood' by Tony Richards

Hot Blood by Tony Richards
Samhain Publishing (September 2014)
362 pages, e-book $6.50, paperback $17.42
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

hot-bloodHot Blood is the story of Tanya Merrit, a Ykraal. Ykraal are night based creatures who burn in the sunlight and require the blood of human beings for strength. They are not, however, vampires. Ykraal have a more symbiotic relationship with their victims, and Tanya is often seen seducing and making love to her victims before drinking their blood, mesmerizing them in the process so there is no pain or fear. When Tanya’s girlfriend, Kathy, is stolen away by a true, parasitic vampire, Wolkran, the novel follows Tanya as she chases Wolkran across the globe in an attempt to stop him and get Kathy back.

For readers looking for an international adventure story, Hot Blood delivers. Continue Reading